Sunday, the Denver Broncos get back to the season after a bye week which followed a disappointing 19-17 loss to the Houston Texans.
This defeat dropped the Broncos to 3-6 and left their playoff hopes on life support. If there is a glimmer of hope for the Broncos, however, it is that they get to go back into AFC West play at Carson, Calif. against the Los Angeles Chargers.
I do not know as much about the goings on of the Broncos as many of the venerated analysts all across Twitter and the Internet at large, but I do know what I heard.
Last Monday evening on 850 News Radio KOA, Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman said this team and season feel different than the 2017 version.
Perhaps this is an allusion to the fact that four of the six losses on the season have come within seven points or less.
The NFL is, in essence, a series of Maxwell Smart escapes or defeats (“missed it by that much, Chief!”) Sorry, I do have a soft spot for classic TV shows. As I pen this masterpiece, I found a classic episode of Growing Pains to amuse me, oddly enough.
Anyway, there is much blame to be thrown around but I attempt to provide some solutions. Our colleague, Matt Geving, has a piece on one of the Broncos’ bright spots in a pallid season thus far, in rookie tailback Phillip Lindsay.
It does bear mentioning that the Chargers, under head coach Anthony Lynn, have “stayed the course.” It has worked out quite well for them as after an 0-4 start, he has won 16 of his last 22 games.
Our friend, Zac Stevens, from BSN, sheds some light on the subject.
I guess I’m from the old school and I don’t believe in whining when things don’t go right. It doesn’t make things better. Fortune favors the bold and if the Broncos come out with an aggressive game plan, they may be able to shock the team with lightning bolts on its helmets. I hope you laughed at my attempt at humor there.
The Chargers are a team without many flaws, based on what this week’s game notes tell me. With potential future Hall of Fame QB Philip Rivers (67.3 completion percentage on the season, 2,459 yards, 21 TD’s/4 INT’s) leading the 8th best NFL offense in yardage per game (392.1 yards per game) and third in yards per play (7.0), things are going well even if only 27,000 fans at home per game can see them.
The Chargers’ offense is also the best in the NFL at turning the ball over, as they only have 7 turnovers on the season.
Two of his best receivers, Tyrell Williams (19.1 yards per reception) and Mike Williams (18.8 yards per catch) rank in the top four in the NFL in that statistic. Incidentally, Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton (19.1 yards per reception) is ranked third in the league by that metric. Therefore, expect plenty of deep passes in the heavens of the greater Los Angeles area Sunday afternoon.
The Chargers’ best receiver overall, however, is Keenan Allen (53 rec, 687 yards, 2 TD’s). Arguably, the best offensive player the 7-2 Chargers have is tailback Melvin Gordon, who is tied for fourth in the NFL in rushing with 672 yards. He also has seven rushing scores on the season. He also has 1,033 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns for the Chargers.
Defensively, the Chargers do not do anything really well with a couple of important exceptions. They are 8th in scoring defense in only surrendering 20.7 points per game.
They are also tied for 7th in the NFL with 10 interceptions and tied for ninth in the NFL with 26 sacks.
Defensive end Melvin Ingram is the Chargers’ leader in sacks with 5.5 on the season. Defensive end Joey Bosa has been listed as questionable. Do not be surprised if he laces them up Sunday for the Chargers.
If the Broncos want to pull the upset at Carson Sunday, they need to not only take impeccable care of the ball themselves but also force some turnovers.
The Broncos, as Colin Cowherd astutely pointed out on his Friday broadcast, are an underrated big play offense themselves.
Receiver Emmanuel Sanders (754 scrimmage yards, 4 total touchdowns) and the aforementioned Lindsay (751 scrimmage yards, 4 total touchdowns) play a big role in this.
The Broncos will need plenty of big plays from QB Case Keenum (63.6 completion percentage on the season, 2,400 yards, 11 TD’s/10 INT’s) Sunday. It does bode well that against Houston (26-42, 290 yards, TD) he had his best game on the season.
Perhaps Keenum is ready to play even better in a key AFC West road tilt. We shall see.
The Broncos’ 28 sacks are tied for 7th in the NFL with linebacker Von Miller (9 sacks) and defensive end Bradley Chubb (8 sacks) leading the charge. If the Broncos are to pull out the upset, another key factor in that would be winning in the trenches and getting sacks against Rivers.
The Chargers have only allowed 13 sacks on the season. That’s the 4th best mark in the NFL.
Date: Sunday Nov. 11, 2018
Start Time: 2:05 pm MST
Location: ROKiT Field at StubHub Center
TV Info: CBS (506sports.com for local listings nationwide)
Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst), Evan Washburn (sidelines)
I scoured the Internet for an injury report in written form and none are available. Thus, I’ll let Broncos head coach Vance Joseph tell you what’s up. Sorry, I did the best I could.
The Chargers’ Web site provided this, but they did not post anything on Twitter, so hopefully this helps out.
It does bear mentioning that receiver DaeSean Hamilton was a full participant at Friday practice and, like Sutton, he has vast potential. Perhaps he can be the Broncos’ secret weapon. We’ll see what happens Sunday. It should be a fun game after the bye if nothing else.